Joined: Mar. 2004
||Posted: Sep. 25 2005,19:27
Most of you know of my long-standing love affair with iRiver, and their Linux-friendly product line.
Well, the honeymoon is over.
Their latest product line does not play nice with Linux, or even OSX. That's right. iRiver has crossed over to the dark side.
I finally got a chance to play with my bro's h10 20gb, and here's a short review.
Interface and onboard software
While the interface is not as neat as the h3x0 series, it's still better than the h1x0 series, and easy to navigate thanks to the touch-sensitive scroll pad. But the equalizer is even more simplistic than the one on the h3x0. Not a good thing. So, 10/10 for style, but minus a couple points for bad thinkin'. No international radio support either. Another downside.
Score - 6/10
The h10 requires you to install the spyware-ridden, DRM plagued Windows Media Player 10. It also requires special drivers, and doesn't allow you to store data files on its hard disk. baaaaad.
Score - 1/10
The sound quality seems a bit tinny, though still better than most of Rio's offerings, and far better than most low-to-midrange flash players. Kinda disappointing for a hdd-based player, especially compared to most of iRiver's product line, and the iPod. The bass lacks a decent punch, and the high-end seems to tweeter a bit. (I use a pair of Sony noise-canceling, studio-style headphones for all of my sound tests. Cost about $20 at most stores, and have the equalizer disabled.) Still better than average.
Score - 7/10
The USB connection cable is no longer the usb to mini-usb like before. It uses a proprietary connection. But this time, they at least made the cable they give you sturdy and well made. The earbuds, while better than the iPod's included 'buds, are still crap compared to even a cheap set of real phones, like my Sonys. Toss 'em. Also includes a cheap polymer/rubber case that does pretty well to protect the body from scratches, but nothing for the screen. At least you can get to the controls without taking it out of the case, unlike the h3x0.
Score - 8/10
Media Type Compatibility
The h10 20gb supports only the mp3 and wma (both normal and those evil DRM'd ones) formats! What happened to ogg support? asf? avi movies? flac? Even left out wav support! Somebody must have made a mistake here. No one relly cares about being able to look at jpegs (no bitmap images, though!) or read txt files. We want media support, damnit! One point for each supported format.
Score - 4/10
iRiver's latest hdd-based player is a huge letdown, both for non-Windows users, and for music junkies in general. We want more compatibility, not less. More supported media formats, not fewer. And decerased sound quality? Why would you do that?
Seems like iRiver is heading the way of Creative with their players. Less friendly to users, more friendly to large monopolizing industries and their racketeering schemes than to their customers. Sad really. Maybe they'll come to their senses with the 2006-7 series stuff.
Overall Score - 5/10
An average player with far below average compatibility. Get one of the hxxx players instead, if you can find one.
They say if you play a Microsoft CD backwards, you hear satanic messages. That's nothing, cause if you play it forwards, it installs Windows.
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